Which Has More of an Influence on Intelligence: Nature or Nurture? written by: Sonal Panse • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 7/22/2010
Are you a product of your genes or your environment? What determines your intellect? Find out more about this issue to make your own decision.
The nature versus nurture debate ponders over the question whether it is our genes that determine who we are and the qualities we possess, or if it is the environment in which we are raised that shapes our personality. Certain traits such as eye-color and hair-color are certainly influenced by genetics, but what about intelligence, personality type, sexual orientation and so on? Are these determined by our genes too? Supporters of the nature hypothesis believe that hereditary factors matter more than environment, while supporters of the nurture hypothesis consider the environmental influence paramount. In actuality, both these factors are important and interlinked, and it is practically impossible to conclude which is more necessary than the other. Francis Galton and Eugenics
The British scientist Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, coined the term 'nature versus nurture'. He became interested in the matter of heredity after reading Darwin's work 'The Origin of Species', and he wrote a book 'Hereditary Genius: Its laws and Consequences' in 1869. He observed that many clever and talented people seemed to produce equally or more gifted offspring, and he carried out twin studies to determine how people with the same genes might develop in intelligence when raised in the same environment or in different environments. He also studied intelligence levels between people of different races. His research led him to conclude that heredity or nature made more of a difference than environment or nurture, and that intelligence had to be inbred, it couldn't be trained. He then proposed that the arrangement of judicious marriages between gifted individuals...
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